Page last updated at 04:12 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Ice hockey win is pure gold for Canadians

Vanessa Yue from British Columbia
Ice hockey fan Vanessa Yue said the tension was almost unbearable

By Brandy Yanchyk
BBC News, Vancouver

People are literally dancing in the streets of Vancouver after Canada won the coveted gold in the Winter Olympics' men's ice hockey final against the United States.

Car horns are blowing and fans wearing Canada ice hockey jerseys are chanting "Canada, Canada".

All over the country, Canadians packed sports bars to watch the game or were glued to TV sets at home.

It was a nail-biter of a game.

Canadian hockey fan: "This is our game, and this is our day"

Canada led 2-1 until the US scored at the end of the third period, pushing the game into extra time.

When Canada's Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal, the country erupted.

"I thought I was going to pass out during overtime," said Vanessa Yue from Richmond, British Columbia.

"I think it unites the country. Everybody stopped and watched the game."

She added: "It's a big defining moment for us as a country, hosting the games for the third time and to be able to win gold in ice hockey. I couldn't be any happier."

Don Soubolsky travelled from Calgary and watched the game in a bar in downtown Vancouver with his family.

'Special win'

"It's a huge day for Canada," he said.

"We've always been second to our big brother the United States, and beating them in the Olympics is something very, very special."

The win is the icing on the cake for Rick Sielski from Saskatchewan who is in Vancouver for the Olympics.

"Given that we are on home soil and this is a Canadian Olympics, being number one in gold medals overall was spectacular," he said.

Ice hockey is an obsession for Canadians - it even appears on their $5 bills.

Don and Donna Soubolsky
Don and Donna Soubolsky watched the game in a Vancouver bar

Many learn how to skate as soon as they learn how to walk.

Most Canadians spend their childhoods at ice rinks playing hockey or watching family and friends play at the weekends.

"It unifies the country, it's an amazing sport for us. It's our sport," said Bruce Kafferky from Victoria, British Columbia.

"For us to win our game - and we truly believe it is our game - is just phenomenal."

Donna Soubolsky, from Calgary, said the ice hockey final had been the "pivotal game" of the Olympics for her.

"Canada is hockey, everyone watches it, everyone plays it," she said.

The win brings Canada's medal count to 26 including 14 gold.

Canada failed to win gold on home soil when it hosted the 1976 summer games in Montreal and the 1988 winter games in Calgary.

Now it has the most golds ever won by a host nation in the Winter Olympics - and has even broken the record for the biggest haul of golds, previously held by the USSR and Norway.

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